Some of you may not know that several years ago as a direct result of my parents serving a full time mission I was not only cured of Anthophobia but my sore knee suddenly got better. Such miracles are not uncommon in the Church.
The *September 2012 Ensign spoke of the miraculous blessings that occurred in one family when the parents served a mission, “One couple who had been unable to have children were blessed with a baby boy, another had a miraculous healing from cancer, another with a struggling child saw great progress, and others had their best year in business.”
The Ensign article also confirms something that my scientifically trained mind has observed for many years, that “Missions keep people younger.”
With such blessings readily available to all I hope you can understand how it just sickens me when senior couples find excuses to not serve missions. If only more couples could be like the Luangrath’s mentioned in the Ensign who admitted that (like most retired couples) they “sat in their home. … wondering what they should do.”
The difference between them and less faithful couples is that instead of twiddling their thumbs they “wanted to follow the prophet, so they turned in their mission application.”
Couples are reacting positively to the new revelation highlighted in the Ensign that “Senior missionaries may return home for critical family events (for up to 10 days) at their own expense.”
The McClusky’s who are considering serving a mission when they retire next year told me that they appreciate the Lord recognizing that senior couples are now considered mature enough to decide for themselves whether to come home in an emergency. “Previous generations of senior missionaries were probably not capable of making these decisions on their own and needed priesthood direction to tell them what to do, but we were specifically told in our youth that in the pre-existence ours was a more valiant generation”, remarked 68 year old Sister McClusky.
This new policy came just in time for John and Dorothy Simpson who’s only daughter Andrea was dying in the hospital. At my suggestion they went on a mission in an attempt to cure Andrea of the stage 4 lung cancer that had been plaguing her for the last 7 months. When it became clear that Andrea was imminently needed on the other side of the veil the Simpson's followed the direction given in the new policy and paid for themselves to return home to be with their daughter during the last days of her mortal probation.
On the 5th day of their return with only 5 more days allowed they started to worry that they might not be able to be with Andrea when she passed on. As a stake we all fasted and prayed and on the 9th day Andrea, in a moment of weakness, asked her parents to stay. The Simpson’s knew that the Lord had implemented the 10 day policy for a reason and with faith filled tears they hugged their daughter for the last time before heading back to where the Lord needed them most.
While obediently on their flight back to their mission in Australia Andrea passed away peacefully in her sleep. "It was truly a miracle", said Elder Simpson who was proud to report that they were able to give a pass along card to a member of a rock band that was sitting next to them on the plane. "We are so thankful that even though we missed the funeral this newly inspired policy permitted us to come home for a short final visit", said Sister Simpson.
Brothers and Sisters please do all you can to encourage the elderly to serve missions. I testify that as couples have the faith to go forward and serve the Lord they and their families will be blessed beyond measure, and I say these things humbly in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.